Perhaps no other sport is as bound to tradition as racing Thoroughbreds. From the sheer length of its history, to the grand old venues in which it takes place, to the top-hatted and red-suited bugler calling the horses to post, racing loves its time-honored habits.
ESPN's coverage of the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup drew roughly the same number of viewers as last year, and that is not very good news.
Once more, War Pass has proven that no one can run with him. Robert LaPenta's undefeated colt set a fast pace on a sloppy Monmouth Park strip and took command early on the far turn, finishing up nicely to register a 4 3/4-length in the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Oct. 27.
The main reason trainer Bobby Frankel is able to attend to his ill dog back in California and not make it to the Breeders' Cup is his fantastic staff of assistants who are able to step in and run the show.
Herman Sarkowsky's Dixie Chatter and Barry Schwartz and Ed Wachtel's Attila's Storm have been scratched from the Oct. 27 Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), respectively.
Jack and Laurie Wolf and John and Jerry Amerman will all be looking for their second victory in the Breeders' Cup Distaff when they send out Octave and Balance, respectively, Saturday at Monmouth Park.
The ESPN family of networks will set a record for length of Breeders' Cup coverage, with 9 1/2 hours devoted to the two-day Breeders' Cup event and a preview show Wednesday.
Smokey Stover, one of the top-rated sprinters in the country, will test his affinity for the Monmouth Park racing strip, site of the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), when he faces four foes in the $100,000 Icecapade Stakes Sept. 1.
Universal Pictures has yet another Barbaro film in the works. The feature film follows in the hoof prints of two national documentaries that premiered in the past couple of months on NBC and HBO. Peter Berg will direct and co-produce the film, tentatively titled "Gone Like the Wind" and based on a magazine article by Berg's cousin, Buzz Bissinger.
Continuing a trend in sports TV programming, the ratings for the June 9 telecast of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on ABC registered a 2.9, down 12% from 2006's 3.3.
The Belmont Stakes telecast June 9 on ABC, which ended up being a thrilling race with a historic finish thanks to the filly Rags to Riches, nevertheless registered modest ratings numbers that continued a downward trend for the race.
Four of the seven horses that will contest Saturday's Belmont Stakes have owners from the New York metropolitan area, giving a distinct local feel to the Big Apple's big race.
Jerry Bailey, known as an astute handicapper when he was carving out his Hall of Fame riding career, gave his thoughts on Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) while standing on the track's apron Thursday morning.
Ruffian's trainer, Frank Whiteley Jr., and her regular rider, Jacinto Vasquez, along with Thoroughbred Legends LLC, have filed a civil suit against The Walt Disney Company and its subsidiaries, ABC and ESPN, charging trademark infringement in the TV movie "Ruffian," which is slated to air June 9 on ABC.
As post positions were drawn Wednesday for Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the field finally settled in at seven runners after a few horsemen decided that the Belmont would be, then wouldn't be, a fine race in which to run their horses.
NBC reported slightly lower ratings for this year's Preakness Stakes coverage than it received in 2006 when Barbaro was going for the second jewel of racing's Triple Crown.
NBC reported overnight ratings for this year's Preakness that were slightly off last year's Barbaro Preakness numbers, but were still relatively strong for the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
The New York Racing Association has officially announced the release of an Internet wagering application that allows New York fans full access to not only Magna/Churchill racetracks, but also those that have exclusive agreements with TVG.
NBC Sports' telecast of the 133rd Kentucky Derby May 5 averaged 11.5 million viewers, the highest number since 2001, the network reported Thursday.
Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. was awarded a $2.7-million verdict in a civil case against the ambulance company that was charged with treating him after the rider suffered broken bones in his neck in a 2003 riding accident at Santa Anita Park, according to Pincay's attorney, Neil Papiano.
Ratings for the one-hour portion of NBC's Kentucky Derby coverage May 5 that comprises the race segment of the show rose 5% over year-ago figures. NBC announced that 13.8 million viewers tuned into the race, a 7% boost from 2006.
Several of the connections of this year's Derby horses have more than one shot of winning the big prize.
NBC has switched gears, and will air "Barbaro: A Nation's Horse" Saturday, May 5, at 8 p.m. ET, an hour and a half after the network signs off from covering the Kentucky Derby.
NBC, which pre-empted "Barbaro: A Nation's Horse" April 29 for a Stanley Cup hockey playoff game that went two overtimes, has re-scheduled the documentary for Friday, May 4, at 9 p.m. ET on its cable channel CNBC.
NBC will begin its Kentucky Derby coverage with a special 30-minute red carpet and celebrity interview program featuring talent from its "Access Hollywood" show.
Great Hunter, Liquidity, and Cobalt Blue all worked sharply at Keeneland Friday in their last major preps for the May 5 Run for the Roses.
A dispute over the ownership of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands contender Great Hunter has been settled by J. Paul Reddam and Fifth Third Bank.
NBC will recount the heroic story of Barbaro in a one-hour documentary that will air on the network April 29, which would have been the horse's fourth birthday.
An Arizona-based Thoroughbred owner has sued trainer Richard Mandella and owner B. Wayne Hughes after claiming a horse from them that had undergone heel nerving surgery.
NBCSports.com will stream live coverage of the Florida Derby this Saturday, March 31, from Gulfstream Park.
Storm Military, a dual group I-winning son of Bernstein in Argentina, has been privately purchased by Dr. Tony Ryan's Castleton Lyons and will commence a North American campaign with trainer Bobby Frankel.
Barbaro, who thrilled racing fans with his sublime victory in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and captivated many millions more worldwide with his gut-wrenching fight for life after suffering a catastrophic breakdown in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), was euthanized Jan. 29.
Shekih Mohammed's Darley operation has purchased a 106-acre farm adjacent to Saratoga Racecourse from Robert and Janice McNairs' Stonerside Stable for $17.4 million.
Final U.S. national household television ratings confirmed a severe dip in the number of Americans tuned to the Breeders' Cup World Championships this year.
Television ratings were down but Web traffic was up for ESPN's maiden voyage covering the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
The two 5-2 co-favorites in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) both broke down during the running of the race and failed to finish.
Under blue skies with wispy clouds, the Breeders' Cup World Championships got off to a formful start at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., when favorite Dreaming of Anna led gate to wire to take the $1,832,000 Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
When considering Breeders' Cup fields, one would normally think the vast majority of horses are homebreds, or at least have been with one nurturing trainer and owner who have been pointing the horse to a certain championship race since it was a youngster. Not so, where this year's TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) is concerned.
At a Nov. 2 press conference next to the Churchill Downs paddock, trainer Todd Pletcher tried to explain the logistics of starting 17 horses on Breeders' Cup World Championship day Saturday.
Henny Hughes, undefeated this year since coming to the barn of Kiaran McLaughlin, was installed as the 2-1 favorite for the $2-million TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) after drawing post position four in the six-furlong contest.
HorseRacing, a subsidiary of Magna Entertainment Corp. announced Tuesday, Oct. 31, that it has entered into an agreement with Insight Communications for carriage of HRTV on Insight systems beginning in time for the Breeders' Cup World Championships this Saturday.
Talk about beginner's luck. The very first horse that Ronald Borgese owned is taking him to the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs Nov. 4. The horse's name is Nightmare Affair, but he's been a dream come true for his New York-based owner.
It's not often that things go according to plan in the Thoroughbred business, but that's certainly been the case with Silverleaf Farms' purchase of Pomeroy last year.
Only five editions of the Sprint have seen the post time favorite hit the wire first, although the connections of Henny Hughes can take solace that two of those winning favorites strutted their stuff at Churchill Downs, site of this year's event.
One of San Francisco's favorite sons, Aleo can come off crustier than week-old sourdough bread. His values are old-time, rock-hard conservative, and he's not shy about displaying them publicly.
"I don't think I would have handled Lost in the Fog the way I have--meaning his training, picking out his races, and deciding not to go through the Triple Crown--20 years ago," Gilchrist said. "Experience beats everything, and the more good horses you're around, you learn how to treat them.
Lost in the Fog, last year's Eclipse Award-winning sprinter, was euthanized Sept. 17, three weeks after doctors found three cancerous tumors in his spleen and along his back.
Besides being seen on a new network this year, the Breeders' Cup World Championships will have a different sound as well. For the first time since the event's inception in 1984, Tom Durkin will not be calling the Breeders' Cup races for television viewers.
In a lawsuit that is believed to be unprecedented, the owner of a horse disqualified for a drug positive is suing his trainer for the redistributed purse money.
Doctors at the University of California-Davis veterinary school will run extensive tests on Lost in the Fog Friday in order to determine whether they will perform surgery to remove what is believed to be a cancerous mass from his spleen.
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